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Saturday, December 3, 2016

1980 United States Olympic Team Mike Ramsey Jersey

After graduating from Minneapolis Roosevelt High School, where he was considered the top defenseman in Minnesota, Mike Ramsey, born on this date in 1960, joined the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers for the 1978-79 season.

Ramsey Roosevelt, Ramsey Roosevelt
Mike Ramsey of the Roosevelt Teddies

Ramsey scored 24 points in 34 games as a college rookie as Minnesota would go on to win the NCAA national championship under the guidance of head coach Herb Brooks.

The 1979 NCAA national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers

During that season Ramsey also participated in the 1979 World Junior Championships for the United States. Later that spring, Ramsey was chosen 11th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, the first Minnesotan ever taken in the first round.

Rather than return to Minnesota for a second season, Ramsey became the youngest member of the United States Olympic Hockey Team under his college coach Brooks. The Americans shocked the world by upsetting the Soviet Union in the "Miracle on Ice" and then completed their quest by winning the gold medal with a win over Finland.

Ramsey USA, Ramsey USA
Ramsey demonstrating his tough defensive style

Following the Olympics, Ramsey immediately turned professional and joined the Sabres for the final 13 games of the season followed by an equal number of playoff games, a total of 89 games played that season including the Olympic Team's training schedule, a huge number of games for someone two years removed from high school hockey.

Ramsey, buoyed by his high pressure Olympic experience against players much older than himself, adapted to the faster and stronger players in the NHL, playing over 150 games in the NHL over the course of the next two seasons. With Buffalo quickly eliminated from the playoffs, Ramsey was free to once again wear the red, white and blue of the United States at the 1982 World Championships.

The 1982-83 NHL season was one of Ramsey's finest offensive seasons, as he scored 8 goals and 38 points while posting a +20 rating. The following season Ramsey's offensive total dipped to 31 points, but he set a career high with 9 goals, as well as having a +27 rating.

Ramsey Sabres, Ramsey Sabres
The respected Ramsey was named captain of the Sabres

Before the 1984-85 NHL season could begin, Ramsey competed in the 1984 Canada Cup tournament, scoring a goal and an assist in six games as the United States finished second in the round robin portion of the tournament before losing in the semifinals.

Another strong 30 point season followed as Ramsey set a career high with a +31 rating. Two more seasons with Buffalo saw Ramsey extend his streak of 72 or more games played to seven, and set a career high in 1986-87 with 30 points. Ramsey was also named an NHL All-Star in 1987 when the usual All-Star Game format was put on hold as the NHLers faced off against the Soviet Union in the two-game series known as Rendez-Vous '87.

The 1987 Canada Cup came next for Ramsey prior to the 1987-88 NHL season, the first of six more solid defensive seasons with the Sabres which included being named captain of the Sabres in 1991-92. Then, after 14 seasons in Buffalo, Ramsey was traded to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins where he was reunited with his old Sabres coach Scotty Bowman.

Ramsey Penguins, Ramsey Penguins
Ramsey again played for Bowman while with the Penguins

There was no third Stanley Cup for Pittsburgh, and after playing the following season of 1993-94 with the Penguins, Ramsey signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings. His time there was spoiled by injuries which limited him to just 33 games in 1994-95 and 47 the next.

Ramsey Red Wings, Ramsey Red Wings

He retired over the summer, but returned for a pair of games in February of 1996, but felt he wasn't up to standards and retired for good after 18 seasons, 1,070 games, 79 goals and 266 assists for 345 point and but one season with a negative plus/minus rating all while never playing a single game in the minors.

Ramsey played in four NHL All-Star Games and was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

Today's featured jersey is a 1980 United States Olympic Team Mike Ramsey jersey. This blue road jersey was worn during the Americans final game against Finland which clinched the gold medal.

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USA 1980 #5 jersey photo USA19805RB.jpg

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1986-87 Buffalo Sabres Mike Ramsey jersey. This classic Sabres jersey style would remain in use through the 1995-96 season until replaced by an all new look for Buffalo when the team's colors changed to red, black and white. It was brought back as an alternate jersey in 2006-07 and was the basis for a new, modernized alternate in 2008-09 before being promoted to the team's primary jersey in 2010-11, much to the delight of the fans.

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 photo Buffalo Sabres 1986-87 B jersey.jpg

Extra bonus Jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1987 United States National Team Mike Ramsey jersey as worn in the 1987 Canada Cup tournament. The United States first wore this style in 1984 and wore it for a long run through to 1995 until Nike took over making jerseys for IIHF international competition.

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Extra extra bonus Jersey: Today's extra extra bonus jersey is a 1994-95 Detroit Red Wings Mike Ramsey jersey as worn during the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals against the victorious New Jersey Devils.

The Red Wings name was adopted in1932 after the team was originally called the Cougars and Falcons. The Red Wings first wore just a red jersey for all games for two seasons until introducing a white jersey for the 1924-35 season. That jersey had white sleeves with a broad red stripe and remained in use all the way until the 1960-61 season until they sleeve colors were reversed to today's red sleeves with a white stripe.

Only minor additions have taken place since then, such as the addition of sleeve numbers and names on the back, which remain one of the few professional sports teams to still employ the stylish and classy vertically arched names.

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 photo Detroit Red Wings 1994-95 B jersey.jpg

In today's video section, a great clip, as Ramsey levels a Montreal Canadiens player with a clean, hard hit and is then jumped by Mario Tremblay. Not only does Ramsey land a dozen heavy rights, but the two of them would go on to be assistant coaches together with the Minnesota Wild!

Here, Ramsey risks his life and career by actually checking Wayne Gretzky - during the NHL All-Star Game! Yes, he didn't put Gretzky in the fourth row of seats like he could have, but still, it's the last hit we recall in an all-star game!

Finally, here is Ramsey being interviewed a in 2009 between periods of a Minnesota High School girls hockey game in which his daughter Rachel was playing.

Friday, December 2, 2016

2002 Latvia National Team Sergei Zholtok Jersey

Born on this date in 1972, Sergei Zholtok was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins 55th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft after playing two seasons with his hometown club Dynamo Riga in Latvia. Prior to being drafted, Zholtok won a silver medal at the 1991 World Junior Championships while skating for the Soviet Union, of which Latvia was still a member. 

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Zholtok caught the eye of NHL scouts at the World Juniors

He then won a gold at the 1992 World Juniors during a remarkable period in history, as the team arrived in Finland as the Soviet Union, winning their first three games, including one on December 31st, 1991, before their country ceased to exist and they played their game on January 1st, 1992 as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)! 

Zholtok spent the majority of his first season in North America of 1992-93 playing with the Providence Bruins of the AHL, appearing in one game with Boston, registering an assist for his first NHL point.

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Zholtok made his North American debut with the P-Bruins

1993-94 was split between Providence (54 games) and Boston(24 games), and saw Zholtok score his first NHL goal against fellow Latvian Arturs Irbe.

The Providence Bruins would be his home for the entire 1994-95 season and he would score 23 goals and 35 assists for 58 points in 78 games.

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Zholtok's 1994-95 Providence Bruins jersey
with the AHL All-Star Game patch
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Zholtok would have his breakout season the following year with the Las Vegas Thunder of the IHL scoring 51 goals and 50 assists for 101 points in 82 games, all career highs.

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Zholtok found success with Las Vegas

He would split the next season between Las Vegas (19 games) and the Ottawa Senators in his return to the NHL, where he would see action in 57 games and collect 28 points. Zholtok would again play in Ottawa in 1997-98 for a full campaign, scoring 23 points for the season.

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Zholtok returned to the NHL with the Senators

1998-99 saw Zholtok move to the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent, where he would collect 22 points in 70 games. 38 points would follow in 1999-00 and 2000-01 saw him play 32 games in Montreal, scoring 11 points before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for the second half of the season. It was not a good year for Zholtok, as between the two clubs combined, he would score only five goals in 69 games.

With his value at a low point, he was acquired by the Minnesota Wild for just a 7th round draft choice. The move to the fledgling second year Wild offered Zholtok the chance for a new start and increased playing time, including playing the point on the Wild's first power play unit even though he was a forward.

He seized the opportunity and set a new personal NHL best with 39 points on 19 goals and 20 assists. 2002-03 would see him improve upon that mark with 42 points on 16 goals and 26 assists, as well as being the first Latvian to captain an NHL team when Wild coach Jacques Lemaire named Zholtok captain for January as part of his rotating monthly captaincy.

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Zholtok became the first Latvian to captain an NHL club

Zholtok was also a key part of the Wild's unexpected run to the Western Conference Finals, which included dramatic comebacks from being down 3 games to 1 to both the Colorado Avalanche in round 1, including his assisting on the series clinching goal in overtime of Game 7 by Andrew Brunette, and again to the Vancouver Canucks in round 2. Zholtok would total 13 points in 18 games during the Wild's playoff run.

Zholtok Wild photo ZholtokWild1.jpg

2003-04 saw Zholtok play in 59 games for the Wild, one of only four Latvian players in the NHL that season, scoring 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points in 59 games before being dealt to the Nashville Predators along with Brad Bombardir for a pair of third and fourth round draft picks at the trade dealine. He would play in 11 games for the Predators, followed by 6 playoff games in his final NHL action.

With the players locked out by the NHL owners for the 2004-05 season, Zholtok, a national hero in Latvia and a regular member of the Lativan National Team, would do what many NHL players did and return to his home country to play, bringing former Wild teammate Darby Hendrickson with him.

Darby Hendrickson and Sergei Zholtok
Hendrickson joined Zholtok in Riga during the 2004 lockout

Zholtok would compete in just six games for HK Riga 2000.

What followed was hinted at in January of 2003, when Zholtok was forced to leave a game due to an occurrence of dizziness and fatigue and was taken to the hospital. Two nights later he skated in the pre-game warmups, but did not feel well enough to play.

The problems returned early in the 2003-04 season when he suffered a fainting spell during the second period of a game. He spent the night in the hospital and was diagnosed with hyperventilation. Additional testing ten days later at the Mayo Clinic revealed an irregular heartbeat. He missed seven games before being cleared by his cardiologist to resume play - exactly one year to the day prior to what happened next.

On November 3, 2004 Riga 2000 travelled to Belarus for their game against Dynamo Minsk that night. Zholtok told Hendrickson before the game. "You better have the energy on our line tonight because I don't have it."

Late in the game, Zholtok left the bench area to return to the locker room and collapsed. Hendrickson, still in his hockey gear ran to the team bus to retrieve his cell phone and called Minnesota Wild team medical director Sheldon Burns, telling him that Zholtok was having the "same episode as last year."

For 20 agonizing minutes Burns communicated instructions through Hendrickson to the paramedics, one of whom spoke English and Russian. At one point Zholtok told Hendrickson "Don't leave" according to Hendrickson's agent Neil Sheehy. They attempted to shock his heart but all their attempts to save him failed and Zholtok died in Hendrickson's arms.

Renowned for being a dedicated family man, Zholtok left behind his wife Anna and his sons Edgar, 14 at the time, and Nikita, then just 4 years old.

Tributes to Zholtok came from all corners of the hockey world and mourners held a candlelight vigil outside the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation in Riga. There is now an annual Sergei Zholtok Memorial U20 tournament held in Riga every year and a permanent display honoring Zholtok at the Minnesota WIld's Xcel Energy Center.

Zholtok, along with fellow Latvian NHLer Irbe, was a board member of the Kids First Fund for abused and abandoned children in Latvia and Moldova. After reading the linked article, if you would like to donate to this cause that Zholtok so strongly believed in, you can do so by clicking here.


On a personal note, while Zholtok was with the Minnesota Wild, we had the opportunity to meet him in person several times, at both Wild practices and various personal appearances. One of our favorite memories is wearing our Dynamo Riga jersey to practice one day, his first professional club. Shocked to see a jersey from home, 4500 miles away, he excitedly grabbed a teammate and pulled him over to the glass exclaiming "That's from my home town!"

We would make a point of attending his personal appearances of the "question and answer" format, often asking him questions about playing for his country, which he would always answer thoughtfully and with pride. Those were one of the few questions that he did not answer with "spending time with my family" or "going fishing".

Our other favorite shared moment with Zholtok was during the time of the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The lower ranked nations of Slovakia, Austria, Latvia and Germany were placed in one group, while France, Switzerland, Ukraine and Belarus were placed in another group called the Preliminary Round. Only the two group winners would advance to the main competition, which began with the Qualifying Round, against the likes of Canada, Russia and the United States, etc.

Unfortunately for the lower ranked nations, the NHL did not stop their season for the Preliminary Round, forcing countries like Latvia and Slovakia to compete minus their best players, who were still obligated to their NHL clubs at the time. On February 10, 2002, Latvia faced a crucial game versus Slovakia, needing a win to keep pace with Germany for the group lead. We attended the Wild game that evening, wearing our Latvia National Team jersey in support of Zholtok, knowing that he would have his national team on his mind that evening. Standing behind the goal during warmups, Zholtok spotted us as he skated toward the goal, nodded to us and tapped his heart with his fist twice in acknowledgment of our show of understanding and support.

Without Zholtok, Sandis Ozolinsh and Irbe, who asked to be released by the Carolina Hurricanes for the Latvians crucial final game against Germany and was turned down even though Tom Barrasso was their number one goaltender at the time, Latvia had to stage a comeback to salvage a tie against Slovakia 6-6, leaving them a point behind first place and forcing a must win game against Germany, which Latvia lost 4-1 to end their Olympic participation even before their NHL reinforcements could arrive, the same fate that befell the shorthanded Slovaks, who were without such players a Ziggy Palffy, Miroslav Satan, Pavol Demitra, Marian Hossa and Peter Bondra. The Olympic hockey tournament format was amended in time for the 2006 Winter Olympics to prevent such circumstances from happening again.


Internationally, Zholtok would compete at both the 1990 European Junior Championships and 1991 World Juniors for the Soviet Union and the 1992 World Juniors memorably as both the Soviet Union and then the CIS.

With Latvia now free to conduct their own national team program, Zholtok skated for Latvia at the 1994 World Championships in the B Pool and in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004 in the Top Division of the World Championships, scoring 21 goals and 32 points in 34 games at the senior level for Latvia as his NHL commitments would allow.

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Zholtok skating for Latvia at the 2005 World Championships

Today's featured jersey is a 2002 Latvia National Team Sergei Zholtok jersey. After initially competing in blue jerseys with red trim in 1993 after regaining their independence from the Soviet Union, Latvia changed to their now customary maroon and white jerseys in 1996, an obvious choice with those being the colors of the Latvian flag.

Their jerseys would only undergo minor detail changes while remaining in use through 2004, such as collar style and sleeve number placement, and see Latvia through some of their finest moments, such as their emotionally charged 3-2 defeat of Russia at the 2000 World Championships in Russia, and defeating the Russians again 2-1 in 2003.

2002 Latvia F jersey photo Latvia2002WCF.jpg
2002 Latvia B jersey photo Latvia2002WCB.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is 2002-03 Minnesota Wild Sergei Zholtok jersey. This jersey has the captain's "C", proudly worn by Zholtok in January of 2003. It also features one of our custom made Hockey Fights Cancer patches, worn by each team's captain for one game only, in this case Minnesota's game on January 10th vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, and then auctioned off for charity during the subsequent NHL All-Star Game weekend later that season.

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Minnesota Wild 2002-03 jersey photo MinnesotaWild02-03B.jpg
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Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is 2004 Latvia National Team Sergei Zholtok jersey. This jersey shows the slight evolution of the Latvian jersey from 2002 to 2004, as the sleeve numbers are higher up the arms and no longer contained inside the sleeve striping. Additionally, the font for the names is now a thicker, bolder font introduced by Nike for use on their IIHF jerseys.

This jersey also displays Zholtok's #33 in place of his original #16, as by now he had adopted his new NHL number, with which he had enjoyed a revival of his career, for use with the national team later in his career.

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Double extra bonus jersey: Today's double extra bonus jersey is 2004-05 Riga 2000 Sergei Zholtok jersey. Zholtok's original club, Dinamo Riga was founded in 1946 and played in the Soviet Championship League. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the club survived until 1995 when it ceased operations.

The new club, Riga 2000 arose for the 2004-05 season and competed in the Belarussian Extraliga. The team was active until the 2008-09 season until the reorganization of the original Dinamo Riga club in 2008-09.

Zholtok returned to Latvia to play for Riga 2000 during the NHL lockout season and played in six games for the club until his sudden passing on November 3, 2004.

Latvia Riga 2000 2004-05 jersey photo Latvia Riga 2000 2004-05 F.jpg
Latvia Riga 2000 2004-05 jersey photo Latvia Riga 2000 2004-05 B.jpg

Today's first video was produced by the Minnesota Wild and is from Sergei Zholtok Night at the Xcel Energy Center.

This next video features more highlights from his games with the Latvian National Team.

Here is Zholtok scoring one of his three goals in the 2004 World Championships against Austria, his final World Championships of the six he would compete in for Latvia.

Next is an extensive biography of Zholtok done by the LNT, Latvian Independant Television. It's in Latvian, but still well worth watching.

Finally, the final interview he conducted upon his return to Latvia in late 2004. Again, it's in Latvian, but it has a lot of game footage in all four parts that make it worth watching to see Zholtok in action.

To donate to the Kids First Fund, please click on the image below.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

1940-41 Chicago Black Hawks Bill Carse Jersey

In what was an otherwise ordinary regular season NHL contest held on this date in 1940, not one, two or even three sets of brothers took to the ice, but four pairs of siblings skated in the New York Rangers game against the Chicago Black Hawks.

Lacing up the skates for the Rangers were Neil and Mac Colville and Lynn and Muzz Patrick. Taking the ice for the Black Hawks were Max and Doug Bentley and Bob and Bill Carse.

Neil Colville first made it to the NHL in 1935 with the Rangers for a single game and then played with them full time through the 1941-42 season as a center which included winning the Stanley Cup in 1940. His career was interrupted by World War II and it would not be until 1944-45 that he would again play for New York for just 4 games. While away from the Rangers he continued to play senior hockey, winning the Allan Cup while a member of the Canadian army's Ottawa Commandos in 1942. He returned to the blueshirts full time in 1945-46, only as a defenseman, and played four additional seasons before closing out his career with two seasons with New Haven of the American Hockey League. Neil totaled 464 games with 99 goals and 265 points in 12 NHL seasons. He was just as talented on defense as he was on offense, becoming the first player to be named to NHL All-Star teams as both a forward and a defenseman. He was later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967.

Neil Colville, Neil Colville
Neil Colville

Mac Colville, a year and a half younger than Neil, had a nearly identical career path as his brother, also first joining the Rangers in 1935 and playing right wing with Alex Shibicky on left wing and brother Neil as the center. He too won a Stanley Cup in 1940, had his career interrupted by military service by World War II, was part of the Allan Cup winning Ottawa Commandos in 1942 and returned to the Rangers for parts of two seasons after the war, this time playing defense. His final NHL totals were 353 games, 71 goals and 175 points.

Mac Colville, Mac Colville
Mac Colville

Murray "Muzz" Patrick, son of the legendary Lester Patrick, joined the Rangers in 1937-38 for a single game before an NHL career that would last four seasons on defense. He too, was a member of the 1940 Stanley Cup champion Rangers squad and had his career interrupted by World War II. He returned for 24 games, but was unable to compete at the highest level after being away from the game for four years and later became the Rangers head coach in 1953.

Muzz Patrick, Muzz Patrick
Murray "Muzz" Patrick

Lynn Patrick, also a son of Lester and three years older than Muzz, was a left winger who joined the Rangers in 1934-35. He played nine seasons with the Rangers, winning the Stanley Cup in 1940. His career high was 32 goals in 1941-42 and his highest point total was 61 the following season. He too, was away from the game for two seasons and returned for the 1945-46 season for the final NHL campaign of his career which totaled 455 games, 145 goals and 335 points. He later became an NHL general manager and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

Lynn Patrick, Lynn Patrick
Lynn Patrick

On the other side of the ice was Max Bentley, whose long career began in 1940-41. He played center and was a member of the Black Hawks for six seasons, cut short by losing two seasons due to World War II, before a blockbuster trade sent him to the Toronto Maple Leafs where he played for six seasons as well. His final NHL season was spent with the Rangers. He was a consistent offensive force, who had a career high of 31 goals in 1946 with Chicago when his 61 points led the league in scoring, as well as two seasons of 70 points or more, capped with 72 in 1947 to lead the NHL in scoring once again. His final totals show 645 games played, 245 goals and 544 points. He won the Hart Trophy in 1946 and the Lady Byng in 1943 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

Max Bentley, Max Bentley
Max Bentley

Doug Bentley joined Chicago in 1939. A left winger, Doug led the NHL in scoring with 73 points in 1943, which equalled the NHL record. In 1943, brother Reg joined Max and Doug on a line for Chicago, which included Reg's only NHL goal, assisted by both of his brothers, the only time in league history three brothers combined for a goal and both assists. He led the NHL in goals with 38 in 1944 before missing a season due to the war. Following his return, he was teamed with Max and Bill Mosienko to form "The Pony Line", so named due the trio all being small and quick. After the departure of his brother Max, Doug played for more seasons in Chicago through the 1951-52 season. He continued to play in the Western Hockey League for six additional seasons, which included 20 games with the Rangers in 1953-54. His final NHL totals were 565 games played, 219 goals and 543 points. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1964.

Doug Bentley, Doug Bentley
Doug Bentley

Left winger Bob Carse came out of Edmonton and made it to the NHL in 1939. He played four seasons with the Black Hawks before World War II put his career on hold as well. When he returned to pro hockey in 1946 he did manage another 22 NHL games in 1947-48 with the Montreal Canadiens as part of four seasons he spent with the Cleveland Barons in the AHL. Bob totaled 165 games, 32 goals and 87 points during his career.

Bob Carse, Bob Carse
Bob Carse

Bill Carse, also a left wing, made it to the NHL in 1938 with the Rangers for a single game and joined the Black Hawks the following season to begin a three year run with the team. After 122 games, 28 goals and 71 points, World War II interceded in his career path as well. After three years away from the game, he played for seasons with the Pacific Coast League's Vancouver Canucks.

Bill Carse, Bill Carse
Bill Carse

The game itself was played at the Chicago Stadium in front of 16,208 fans, the largest attendance league wide at any game that season up to that point. Chicago opened the scoring with a pair of goals in the first period and again in the second to lead 3-0 after two periods. The Rangers scored midway through the third period to give hope of a comeback, but sealed the victory with a goal in the final minute of the game for a 4-1 win.

Max Bentley, who was a rookie in 1940-41, scored the opening goal at 4:25 before Bill Carse added the second Chicago goal of the period at 14:59. The rest of the siblings involved in the contest were kept off the scoresheet that evening.

By the end of the season, Doug Bentley finished with 28 points, good for third on the Black Hawks. Bill Carse finished with 20 points and Bob Carse with 18, just edging rookie Max Bentley's 17. Meanwhile in New York, Lynn Patrick outscored the rest of the siblings with 44 points, which tied for the team lead. Neil Colville was just behind with 42 and brother Mac Colville finished with 31, while defenseman Muzz Patrick registered 10 points in all.

Today's featured jersey is a 1940-41 Chicago Black Hawks Bill Carse jersey. The Black Hawks adopted the barberpole style in 1937-38 and remained in use through the 1954-55 season, although with some changes to the crest and adjustments to the striping pattern along the way.

The Blackhawks chose this style jersey as their turn back the clock jersey for the NHL's 75th Anniversary season in 1991-92, reviving a truly distinctive style that many fans were not even aware of, as throwback styles were uncommon, if not unheard of in the NHL at the time.

Fortunately for the seamstresses of the day, player names were still a long way off, as the siblings would have required a fair amount of extra sewing for first initials, or even first names in the case of Bob and Bill Carse.

Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey
Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey, Chicago Blackhawks 40-41 jersey

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1941-42 New York Rangers Neil Colville jersey. The Rangers took to the ice wearing blue jerseys with "Rangers" diagonally across the front right from their very first game in 1926. By 1929 the blue had darkened and the lettering changed from white to red with a white outline for the first time. In 1941 the serifed font debuted as seen in today's bonus jersey. The drop shadow around the lettering would arrive just one season later in 1942-43.

After taking the tilt out of the letters and removing the drop shadow temporarily in 1945, the lettering changed to being arched over the player's number for one season in 1946-47 before a return to the diagonal and drop shadowed look in 1947-48. Finally, in 1949-50, the look we're so familiar with today arrived as the upward tilt to the letters was removed when the letters were made level. Two seasons later the Rangers would wear a white jersey to go with the blue one for the first time, making them the last team to adopt separate home and away jerseys.

The blue jerseys would retain the same look until a two year switch to a new, modern look with the team shield as the main crest. When the team returned to it's original appearance in 1978, the blue road sweaters were crested "New York" until changing back to it's original "Rangers" in 1987, a look that has remained unchanged since.

New York Rangers 1941-42 jersey photo New York Rangers 1940-41 F jersey.jpg
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Extra bonus jersey: Today's extra bonus jersey is a 1950-51 NHL All-Star Game Doug Bentley jersey. The original NHL All-Star games were a sporadic series of four benefit games for injured players or families of recently deceased players.

The first official NHL All-Star game occurred in 1947, with the format being that the defending Stanley Cup champions would play a team of all-stars made up from the other five of the Original 6 teams, with the game played just prior to the start of the regular season. This format would remain the same through 1968. Having moved the game to mid-season in 1966-67 and with the expansion from 6 teams to 12 necessitated a change to an East vs. West format for the first time in 1968-69.

For the first game in 1947, the players wore red jerseys and those continued to be used through the 1954 contest before a change to a white version of the same style through 1959. Both the red and white jerseys returned for the 1992 All-Star Game as throwback jerseys in celebration of the league's 75th anniversary season.

Doug Bentley would appear in the first NHL All-Star Game in 1947 and then play in the next four games through 1951 for a total of five All-Star appearances.

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NHL 1950 All-Star jersey photo NHL 1950 All-Star B jersey.jpg

While many brothers have played in the NHL, some as teammates and even won the Stanley Cup together, many others have played against each other as opponents, some of whom have even fought each other, but perhaps the most famous brothers in hockey history never played in the NHL...

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2002 France National Team Philippe Bozon Jersey

Born on this date in 1966 in Chamonix, France, the site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Philippe Bozon became the first French-trained player in the NHL.

Bozon, whose father Alain Bozon was captain of the French National Team, grew up playing hockey in France and moved to Canadian junior hockey in 1984, scoring 82 points in 67 games and he followed with 59 goals and 111 points in 65 games in 1985-86.

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A young Phillipe Bozon with his father Alain

The 1986-87 season saw Bozon split time between juniors and Peoria of the IHL before returning to France for the next five seasons, winning championships with HC Mont-Blanc in 1988 and CSG Grenoble in 1991.

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Bozon won a championship with HC Mont-Blanc in 1988

He returned to North America and made his NHL debut with the St. Louis Blues late in the 1991-92 season, becoming the first French-trained player in the NHL. He would then score his first NHL goal during the final game of the season against the Minnesota North Stars.

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Bozon as an NHL rookie with St. Louis

1992-93 saw Bozon skate in 54 games, missing two months of the season with mononucleosis, scoring 6 goals and 12 points. He would establish himself as an NHL regular the following season, seeing action in 80 games, totaling 9 goals and 25 points and playing on the penalty kill unit.

Bozon during the 1992-93 NHL season

He would return to France during the NHL lockout in 1994 with CSG Grenoble and make one appearance for St. Louis after play resumed, ending his NHL career with 144 games played, 16 goals and 41 points after finding he did not fit into new Blues coach Mike Keenan's plans.

A move to the Swiss second division with HC La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1995-96 was followed by a half a season with Lausanne HC in 1996-97 before moving to the German DEL with Adler Mannheim, including a hat trick in his first game with the club. Bozon would score 15 points in 9 playoff games as Mannheim would capture the championship.
Two more seasons with Adler Manheim would result in two more titles, with Bozon contributing 10 points in 10 playoff games in 1998 and 9 points in 12 games in 1999.

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Bozon would win three DEL titles with the Mannheim Eagles

1999-00 would see Bozon relocate to the Swiss National League A with HC Lugano, totaling 88 points in 85 games over two seasons.

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Bozon returned to Europe with HC Lugano

A shift to HC Geneve-Servette of Geneva in the Swiss second division saw Bozon post a stellar 34 goals and 80 points in 43 games and lift the club back into the top level of Swiss hockey.

Three more seasons with the club would see Bozon average nearly a point per game, 116 in 124 games, before retiring after the 2005-06 season.

His career combined totals stand at 588 goals and 1270 points in 1136 games, four French championships and three German titles.

In addition to his club hockey career, Bozon was a mainstay for the France National Team, with 12 World Championship appearances and four Olympic Games in 1988, 1992, 1998 and 2002, scoring a total of 96 career goals for France.

Bozon playing for France in 1997

He would appear in the World Championships for France in the B pool in 1990 and then again in 1991, scoring 10 points in 7 games, being named the Best Forward and helping earn France a return to the top level. He would then appear in the World Championships in 1992 and then from 1994 to 2000 at the top level and one final time in 2001 in Division 1, for a total of 1 World Championship appearances.

His record in the Olympics shows 13 points in 21 games, including a hat trick against Italy in 1998 under the coaching of no less than Herb Brooks! His 7 points in just 4 games would rank him fifth in tournament scoring being Teemu SelanneSaku KoivuPavel Bure and Alesksandr Koreshkov.

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Like his father, Bozon was the captain of the France National Team

2002 in Salt Lake City saw Bozon score 6 points in 4 games, tied for fifth overall behind Mats Sundin (9 points), Brett Hull (8) and John LeClair and Joe Sakic (7), despite playing two less games than Hull, LeClair and Sakic.

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Bozon scoring against Kazakhstan during the 2002 Olympics
Bozon was honored by being inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2008 and was then named as head coach for the France National Junior Team in 2009.

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Bozon with IIHF President Rene Fasel on the occasion of 
his induction into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2008

Today's featured jersey is a 2002 France National Team Philippe Bozon jersey as worn in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. This style was first worn by France in 1998 and continued to be used for six seasons through 2004.

The jersey features a very subtle black cross pattern running down the length of the arms. It is somewhat easier to see on the white jerseys, as the blue stripe is not lost in the sea of blue as it is on the road jerseys. One wonders why the blue stripe on the blue jerseys was not changed to either red or white for increased contrast and greater visibility for the black cross design.

See if you can spot the black design running down the sleeve above and below the "2" on the left arm, as it is very subtle, even in person and in good light!

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France 2002 jersey photo France2002B.jpg

Video highlights of the French National Team are few and far between, so the best we can offer today is France vs. Switzerland from the 2008 World Championships, featuring Christobal Huet, the second ever French-trained player in the NHL after Bozon, in goal for France.

These next two games are France and Italy battling in the 2008 relegation round, with France coming out on top two games to none to avoid relegation for 2009.


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